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The Industry

What is the difference between a casting company and an agency?
A casting company is hired by a production company to cast talent for a project such as a film, commercial, music video, runway show or print ad.  They audition and/or book the talent they find best suited for the project.  An agency acts as a representative on behalf of a model, actor, or personality).  Most agencies represent talent in their local areas only.

How do agencies make money? Is it true that if I sign with an agency I don’t’ have to pay for anything?
Agencies typically charge talent 15-20% commission on any work they book.  They also charge casting companies a 10-20% fee in addition to their charge to the talent.

Acting agencies do not upfront any marketing material costs or training for actors.  Actor marketing materials include a photographer, makeup artist and hairstylist for headshots (and printing of the headshots).  They also do not pay for actors to attend workshops, classes, training, courses or specialty training.

The top fashion modeling agencies only look for high fashion models a of certain criteria and measurements. While some of the top modeling agencies may help front the costs to develop the model, the model is still responsible for paying the agency back.  The agency may set up test shots with one or more of their photographers, makeup and hair stylists to build a model’s book. Models will be in debt to the agency for whatever these costs entail including print costs for model comp cards and portfolio and possibly even living expenses in a model house.  Once a model starts booking jobs, the agency will take their 15-20% commission in addition to beginning to recoup their costs the model owes.  If a model doesn’t book any jobs, they are still responsible for the debt they incurred to the modeling agency.